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Stressed out by current events?

Mother’s Day. She had expected her children to visit throughout the day so she showered and dressed, as she did every day, and sat down. Restless and suddenly very tired, she sprawled on her bed to read for a while. But, the futility of fighting sleep was so great she set the book aside and welcomed sleep, she who never napped in the daytime because she always was so busy.

Her phone rang and she was invited to come outside. She went and the coming and going of her family was a wonderful gift. The sun broke through the clouds and warmed the air and the heart. She wasn’t tired anymore. When she mentioned about the napping her daughter gasped.

“No, Mom! That’s depression!”

She protested that she wasn’t depressed. She still enjoyed doing the things she liked to do. She didn’t see a deep, black pit swallowing her up. Sometimes she just didn’t see a reason. She blamed it on the restrictions of COVID-19.

“We like stability, routine, and a sense of control over our environments and experience tremendous stress when there are disruptions in our normal lives,” writes Sachiko Nagasawa in his guide, “Tolerance for Uncertainty: A COVID-19 Workbook.”

“Emotions,” says Dr. Nagasawa, “are naturally-occurring internal responses that motivate and inform our behavior. If we do not listen to our emotions then we risk reacting blindly without full awareness to what we need or want.”

Was she avoiding her feelings or was she setting them aside until she could deal with them in a positive way? Did she numb herself to things because she just couldn’t cope or because she didn’t know how to manage the undesirable feelings rising from the stay-at-home order? Some people use alcohol and drugs to escape. Binge eating and sleeping too much are also common escape tools. Oh. Well, she was trying to avoid comfort eating and catnapping.

Anger. Early on in the pandemic as stay-at-home progressed day-to-day and the novelty had worn off, she had caught herself snapping in anger, and went to work on that because recognizing a problem was half the battle. It seemed like everyone had those moments of impatience and anger, maybe not realizing they were doing this, at a time when patience and tolerance were needed. She wasn’t perfect, but she was willing to do the best she knew how.

The author describes radical acceptance, “accepting the present without an intense desire to change it. It’s when you stop fighting reality, stop resenting that reality is not the way you want it, and start letting go of bitterness. In essence, the idea is that life can be worth living even with painful events in it.”

Now, as the state comes back from lockdown, after two months of too much seclusion at home, there is nervousness – fear – about going back “out there.” Face coverings or no face coverings? What is right and what is not?

In the time of 9/11 it was called “cocooning.” The trauma from such impacting events affects everyone. Everyone needs the tools to get through crises, and it’s pretty safe to say that there are always going to be crises in one form or another. With the right skills, resilience happens and we get through to the other side of the event. But sometimes help is needed. Family Recovery Center can help point you in the right direction.

Addiction has no address, but Family Recovery Center does. For more information about the education, prevention and treatment programs for substance abuse and related behavioral issues, contact the agency at 964 N. Market St., Lisbon; phone, 330-424-1468; or e-mail, info@familyrecovery.org. Visit the web site at www.familyrecovery.org. Family Recovery Center is funded, in part, by Columbiana County Mental Health and Recovery Services Board.

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